Philippines tops in workplace gender parity, but Asian women lags in IT

03, Mar. 2020

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MANILA, NNA – The Philippines has been ranked first in Asia for having gender diversity at the workplace while women in India and Japan are the least represented in the labor force, according to the Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia (GDBA).

Released on Monday, the report which analyised gender pay gap, female representation in the workforce as well as in senior leadership, also flagged that women are underrepresented in technology-related fields.

“The lack of gender diversity does not bode well for the digital economy, which depends on developing innovative solutions which a diverse workforce has proven to be better at,” the report said.

The report, conducted by Hong Kong-based non-profit organization Community Business and co-funded by Thomson Reuters, surveyed 3,600 companies in 10 markets, including the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.

Malaysia has the most female representation at 58.1 percent, followed by the Philippines (56 percent).

The report noted that both countries provide women with good access to education and have parenting support policies as well as “progressive initiatives” to improve gender diversity.

Among the bottom four are Indonesia and South Korea, both having only 39.6 percent female representation, and Japan at 33.8 percent. India scored the lowest at 20.8 percent.

The report attributed low female participation to pervasive gender-based discrimination in these countries. But it also added that the "threat to safety can restrict women’s participation in education and the workplace."

In terms of pay equality, the Philippines fared better than the rest. It has the smallest pay gap with women earning 10.2 percent less than men. In second spot is Indonesia where the difference is 17.9 percent.

Ironically, women in the more advanced economies face more wage discrimination. Japan has the widest pay disparity at 26.8 percent, followed by Singapore's 24.8 percent.

“Women need to work up to an additional 98 days a year to earn as much as men do,” the report noted.

The Philippines has the highest number or 33 per cent of women holding senior leadership roles in the region. Malaysia is second at 26.7 percent, followed by Hong Kong at 24.7 percent.

However, it's still an uphill battle for ambitious women aspiring to be a CEO. The report noted that women remain underrepresented in top leadership roles like C-suite executives and country managers.

In fact, women do not hold such executive roles in at least half of the companies surveyed in India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Across the countries surveyed, women are also underrepresented in the field of information technology development and support, with their low 16 percent participation.

“It also means that women are not participating fully in professional roles which are in high demand for talent acquisition,” said the report.

However, women dominate human resources at 71.5 percent, and finance at 68 percent.

The report also noted that the female workforce in Asia declines with age.

For instance, women aged 20 to 39 in the Philippines, make up over half of the total workforce, but their numbers steadily decline from age 40. The report attributed this to taking care of the elderly as an integral part of the Filipino culture.

In the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report 2020, the Philippines also remains the top Asian country for gender parity, which indicates the country has performed well in closing gender gaps in economic participation and opportunity.